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Soldiers and Sailors Historical Society 
of Rhode Island 



Personal Narratives 

SIXTH SERIES, No. 4 



Extracts from my Diary, and from my Experi- 
ences while Boarding with Jefferson Davis, 
in Three of His Notorious Hotels, in 
Richmond, Va., Tuscaloosa, Ala., 
and Salisbury, N. C, from July, 
1861, to June, 1862. 



By WILLIAM J. CROSSLEY. 

[Late Sergeant Company C, Second Rhode Island Infantry 
Volunteers.] 




Library of . 
The University of North Carolina 



COLLECTION OF 

NORTH CAROLINIANA 



ENDOWED BY 

JOHN SPRUNT HILL 

of the Class of 1889 



0?a7f JL-C95" 




00032734266 

FOR USE ONLY IN 
THE NORTH CAROLINA COLLECTION 







1 HiXJf 



i 



PERSONAL NARRATIVES 



OF EVENTS IN THE 



WAROFTHE REBELLION: 

BEING PAPERS READ BEFORE THE 

RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



Sixth Series. — No. 4. 



i &i .! V*i 



PROVIDENCE : 

PUBLISHED BY THE SOCIETY, 

1903. 



SNOW & FARNHAM, PRINTERS. 



*\ 



o 

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EXTRACTS 

From my Diary, and From my 
Experiences 

WHILE BOARDING WITH JEFFERSON DAVIS, 
IN THREE OF HIS NOTORIOUS HOTELS, 

In Richmond, Va., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Salisbury, N. C, 
From July, 1861, to June, 1862. 



BY 

WILLIAM J. CROSSLEY, 

[Late Sergeant Company C, Second Rhode Island Infantry 
Volunteers.] 



PROVIDENCE : 

PUBLISHED BY THE SOCIETY. 
1903. 






[Edition limited to two hundred and fifty copies.] 



EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY. 



[Read before the Society October 15, 1901.] 



Comrades and Friexds : 

When I promised you this paper some months 
ago I did not realize what a blundering mistake I 
was making, but I did soon after, when I began to 
look over the few pages of a wretchedly kept diary, 
and to think I had nothing but a badly faded mem- 
ory to fill the blank spaces; and then to try to 
squeeze a life of over three hundred days into about 
sixty minutes, and make those minutes at all in- 
teresting to you I was afraid was beyond my ability. 
Besides, it occurred to me that many of you had 
read books or heard papers read on this subject, 
written by scholars, when memory and the inci- 
dents of that life were fresh with them, and new, 



6 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

strange and interesting to you, and before such 
books and papers had become repeatedly monoto- 
nous. For these and similar reasons I have tried 
to be as brief as the subject would allow, and to 
avoid putting overmuch stress on the serious or 
doleful part of our confinement, that you already 
may have been bored with. So if you find this 
effort of mine dry and dull try to be thankful it is 
no worse, and that you will not be obliged to listen 
to it again, and if you find at its close that you do 
not know any more than you know now be chari- 
table, and try to think it is from no fault of the 
writer. 

Some of you may wonder why, as I intimated 
just now, the diary was wretchedly kept, when we 
had so much spare time. Simply from the inabil- 
ity to own, keep or borrow a lead pencil. Would 
you believe such a trifle could become such a lux- 
ury in the capital of the Old Dominion? Now to 
those of you who are not familiar with my military 
record previous to the battle of Bull Run, I would 
say, I enlisted in Providence in May and was sworn 
into the United States service June 5, 1861, for 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. I 

three years, as a member of Company C ("The 
Lambs") Second Ehode Island Volunteers. From 
that date we camped and drilled on Dexter Train- 
ing Ground until June 19th, when we sailed from 
Pox Point for New York, then by train to Harris- 
burg, Baltimore and Washington, where we ar- 
rived on the 22d, and went into camp just out and 
north of the city, and adjoining the First Rhode 
Island, at "Camp Sprague." Our camp was named 
"Clark," after the present venerable bishop of this 
diocese. Here we drilled daily until July 16th, 
when we left for old Virginia, and I, it seems for 
Richmond. 

By the way, the able and unquenchable executive 
of our State Prison, General Viall, was then my 
captain, and the Hon. Edward Stanley one of the 
assessors of the town of Cranston was my first lieu- 
tenant. 

To resume, July 17th, we arrived at Fairfax, 
where some of the smart ones made themselves con- 
spicuous in a few of the houses evacuated by the 
Confederates, by smashing portraits, pianos, mir- 
rors and other furniture, without cause or provoca- 



8 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

tion. Thursday, 18th, bought a hoecake and went a 
mile to milk a cow, with and from which I had a 
rare supper. The boys are shooting pigs and hens 
to kill. At 7 p. m. we marched away three or four 
miles to a place we named "Brush Camp," where 
four men came to us from the fight we had heard 
two of three miles beyond, at a place called Centre- 
ville. They were gunless and hatless, and two of 
them were wounded. On the 19th, with rails and 
brush, we made a shelter from the fierce sun. Fresh 
meat was issued to-day ; I made a soup, first in the 
campaign; rather but not awful salt, — for a fresh- 
made soup. Dress parade tonight. Sent a letter 
Home. Have to begin Home now with a capital 
"H" since we have seen rebel-made blood. 

Sunday. July 21st. This is the day we celebrate 
the occasion of this melodrama. Left camp about 
2 a. m., arrived at Bull Run about 9 a. m. Here the 
Confederacy received us with open arms and re- 
freshments galore. We had barely time to ex- 
change the compliments of the season with them, 
when one of the Johnnies with much previousness 
passed me a pepperment drop in the shape of a bul- 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 9 

let that seemed to be stuffed with cayenne. Out of 
courtesy, of course, I returned a similar favor, with 
but little satisfaction however, for he was so com- 
pletely hidden down in the grainfield that his col- 
ors and the smoke from his guns were all we had 
for a target. Well, the cayenne was getting 
warmer, and the blood was getting out of my eyes 
into my trousers' leg, so I was taken to the rear, 
and down to where Surgeons Wheaton and Harris 
were dressing wounds, and had mine dressed; and, 
as the rebs began just then dropping shot and shell 
so near to us as to be taking limbs from the trees 
over our heads the doctors ordered that the 
wounded be moved away. I was put in a blanket 
and taken to another part of the woods and left. 
Soon after, an old friend of mine, Tom Clark, a 
member of the band, came along, and, after a chat, 
gave me some whiskey, from the effects of which, 
with fatigue, loss of blood and sleep, I was soon 
dozing, notwithstanding the roar of fierce and mur- 
derous battle going on just over the hill. When I 
awoke a tentmate of mine was standing over and 
telling me we were beaten and on the run. I wanted 



10 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

to tell him what Pat told the Queen of Ireland, 
Mrs. Keller, but after looking into his ghostly, 
though dirty face, I said nothing, but with his help 
and a small tree tried to get up. That was a fail- 
ure, so I gave him my watch, said good-bye to him, 
and he left. Up to date it was also good-bye to the 
watch. Well, after this little episode, I turned 
over, and, on my hands and one knee, crawled down 
to the road, four or five hundred yards away, and 
tried to get taken in, or on an ambulance, but they 
were all full (though not the kind of full you are 
thinking about). Then 1 crawled up to a rail fence 
close by a log cabin, and soon the rebs came along, 
took account of stock, i. e., our name, regiment and 
company, and placed a guard over us. Being nat- 
urally of a slender disposition (I weighed one hun- 
dred and eleven pounds just before leaving Wash- 
ington) and from the fracas of the last twelve 
hours, was, perhaps, looking a little more peaked 
than usual, so when one of the rebel officers asked 
me how old I was, and I told him twenty-one, 
maybe he was not so much to blame for smiling and 
swearing, "He reckoned I had got my lesson nearly 



AND PEOM MY EXPERIENCES. 11 

perfect." I didn't know then what he meant, but 
it seems they had heard we were enlisting boys, 
and I suppose he thought, in my case at least, the 
facts were before him. 

Monday, July 22d. Well, here I am, a prisoner 
of war, a lamb surrounded by wolves, just because 
I obeyed orders, went into a fight, and, by Queens- 
bury rules, was punctured below the belt. So 
much for trying to be good. And just here I would 
like to add a few lines pertaining to that (to us, 
then) strange expression, "Prisoner of war." From 
the day of my enlistment to the morning of this 
notorious battle I had never heard the word men- 
tioned, nor had I even thought of it. I had been 
told before leaving Providence that I would be 
shot, starved or drilled to death, that with a four- 
teen-pound musket, forty rounds of cartridge, a 
knapsack of indispensables, a canteen of, — of fluid, 
a haversack of hard-tack, a blanket and half a tent 
I would be marched to death under the fierce rays 
of a broiling sun, with a mule's burden of earth — 
in the shape of dust — in my hair, eyes, and ears, 
up my nose and down the back of my neck, or, wad- 



12 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

ing through miles of mud so thick that I must go 
barefoot or leave my shoes. That I would return 
home — if at all — with but one leg, one arm, one eye, 
or one nose, and with but very little of the previous 
large head; but with all this gabble about war and 
its alluring entertainments not a solitary word 
about "Prisoner of war." So you see, it was not 
merely a surprise to us, a little something just out 
of the ordinary, but it was a shock, and not an 
every day feeble and sickly shock either, but a vig- 
orous paralyzing and spine-chilling shock, that we 
couldn't shake off for days or weeks after we were 
captured. But to continue. 

It rained all of last night; I got thoroughly 
soaked. This morning the rebs made our able ones 
go out on the battlefield and get rubber blankets, put 
them over rails and make a shelter for us in the j'ard 
of the cabin. The cabin is full of wounded and dying, 
and I don't know how many are in the yard. When 
the surgeon was dressing my wound to-day, we 
found the bullet inside the drawers where they were 
tied around my ankle. Oh, but wasn't I lucky; 
there was but one puncture and that one below wind 



AND FROM MT EXPERIENCES. 13 

and vitals. That's where the infantry lap over the 
navy, you see, Mr. Shell-back. 

July 23d. Colonel Slocuni died at one o'clock 
this morning. Penno, of the First, had his 
leg cut off. The major had both of his taken off. 
We had some porridge made from meal the men 
brought in from the woods. 

July 24th. Colonel Slocum was buried this morn- 
ing at the lower end of the garden. Major Ballou's 
and Penno's legs in same place. The Major is get- 
ting better; so am I. As the men were going past 
me here with the Colonel's body, I was allowed to 
cut a button from his blouse (I have it yet), at the 
same time they found another bullet wound in one 
of his ankles. 

July 26th. Had ham and bread for dinner right 
from the field, and gruel for supper. T. O. H. Carpen- 
ter, another of my friends, and of my company, died 
to-day, up at the church. 

July 27th. No bread to-day, only gruel. McCann, 
of Newport, died. 

July 28th. Major Ballou died this p. m. 
Gruel for supper, with a fierce tempest. 



14 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

July 29th. The major was buried beside the col- 
onel at dark. 

July 31st. Have had an elegant headache the 
past two days; to-day it's singing. Started 
for Manassas Junction about noon, in ammunition 
wagons, and with those infernal drivers hunting 
around for rocks and stumps to drive over; it did 
seem as if the proprietors of the bullet holes and 
stumps in the wagons were getting "on to Rich- 
mond" with a vengeance. At the Junction we were 
put into freight cars and started at dark for Rich- 
mond. 

August 1st. When we arrived at Gordonville 
this morning, the most of us hoped to be delivered 
from another such night, for the way that engineer 
twitched and thumped those cars all night long 
would have made Jeff Davis & Co. smile, if they 
could have heard the cursing and groans of the tor- 
tured and dying in those cars. This afternoon 
some are scraping the maggots from their rotten 
limbs and wounds, for the heat has been sweltering 
all day, and the stench almost unbearable, as you 
know, there is no ventilation in the ends of a bos 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 15 

freight car; but the most of us lived through it, and 
finally arrived at Richmond, one hundred and fifty 
miles from Manassas, at the speed of nearly seven 
miles an hour. Did you ever hear of Uncle Sam 
treating a train load of gasping and dying strang- 
ers quite so beastly and leisurely as that? As we 
were being unloaded from the cars to wagons a nice 
looking old gentleman with a white necktie, stand- 
ing nearby, said to me, "How old are you, my little 
man?" I told him twenty-one, but from his insinu- 
ating that I must be a near relative of Ananias, I 
did not pretend to be over seventeen after that while 
in the Confederacy. From the cars we were taken 
to a tobacco factory, near the lower end of the city, 
and on the left bank of the James River, after- 
wards known as the famous "Libby." We were 
dumped on the first floor, among the tobacco presses 
for the night, and next morning taken upstairs, 
and, "bless my stars," put on cots, and given bread 
and coffee for breakfast. What was the coffee made 
of do you ask? I don't know, and, as you didn't 
have it to drink it need not concern you; and we 
had soup for dinner, and it's none of your affairs 



16 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

what that was made of either. And now we are al- 
lowed to send letters home, but have to be very 
careful as to quality and quantity, for Mr. Beb has 
the first perusal and will throw them in the waste 
basket if a sentence or even a word is not to his lik- 
ing. I tell you if we needed a capital "H" for 
home, when at Brush Camp, the entire word should 
be written in capitals here, for there we were sur- 
rounded by friends, not an enemy in sight, while 
here we are surrounded by thousands of enemies and 
bayonets and not a solitary friend within miles. 
While writing this paper I have tried to think of 
some parallel or similar case to that of ours, that I 
might give you an idea in a more condensed and 
comprehensive form what that life was. but I can 
think of none. Possibly some of you may think 
that board and lodgings at "Viall's Inn" for a few 
months might be comparable. I don't think so; 
but as we are cramped for time 1 will not argue 
the matter with you, but drop it after a single com- 
parison. If you were to be sent to General Viall's 
you would be told before leaving the Court House 
how long you were to stay. There is where much 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 17 

of the agony, the wear and tear came to us, that 
everlasting longing, yearning and suspense. 

When settled down to our daily routine, I find 
on the cot beside mine a little Belgian Dutchman, 
about thirty-five years old, with a head round as 
a pumpkin, eyes that would snap like stars in Jan- 
uary, and a moustache that puts his nose and mouth 
nearly out of sight. He was seldom murmuring, 
but flush with sarcasm. His name was Anthony 
Welder, and he belonged to the Thirty-Eighth New 
York. He was wounded the same as I, just above 
the knee, so he could not walk, but he did not lack 
for friends and fellow countrymen to call on him 
and help use up many weary hours with their na- 
tional and lively game of "Sixty-Six." I wish you 
could have seen them play it. I was a real nice boy 
at that time and didn't know even the name of a- 
card, but seeing them getting so much fun out of it 
I asked Anthony one day to show me how to play, 
but with a very decided No, he said, "I tell you ; I 
show you how to play, and you play awhile for fun, 
then you play for a little money, you win, then you 
play for a pile, and you win, then you play for a big 



18 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

pile, and you lose him all, then you say, 'Tarn that 
Tutchman, I wish the tevil had him before he show 
me how to play cards.' " But there wasn't much 
peace for Dutchie until I knew how to play Sixty- 
Six." And just here is another illustration of the 
havoc my evaporated memory has made with some 
of the tidbits of those days, that I would occasion- 
ally like to recall ; for to-day I know no more about 
that game of "Sixty-Six" than the Chaplain of the 
Dexter Asylum. 

August 4th. A First regiment man died, and on 
the Gth Esek Smith, also three other Rhode Island 
men died. And her I should say I make no mention 
of the dozens and scores belonging to other states 
and regiments that are carried out daily. One day 
as a body was being taken out past us I said to 
Welder, "There goes another poor fellow that's had 
to give up the ghost," and Welder says, "Well, that 
is the last thing what he could do." 

August 7th. Had services this p. m. by an Epis- 
copal clergyman. 

August 10th. Grub very scarce. . Cobb of the 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 19 

Second died, and H. L. Jacques, of Company E, 
from Wakefield, bled to death this evening. 

August 13th. Johnnie is whitewashing the walls. 
It makes the dirty red bricks look a little more cheer- 
ful. 

August 21st. To-day we are a month away from 
Bull Run, and a month nearer home. 

August 26th. Light breakfast, no dinner and 
small supper. The front of my stomach and my 
spinal column seem to be about three-quarters of an 
inch apart now. 

September 5th. My birthday. The anniversary 
of my beginning to see things in a different light. 
Have cut several eye teeth in the past six weeks. 

September 6th. Moved down stairs, with a beau- 
tiful headache, a sore throat, and my first ague chill. 

Since I began writing this paper I have had an- 
other, and if those two were the only ones I had 
ever had, you might not have been afflicted with 
this mess of pottage this evening. 

September 21st. And now it is two months since 
we left Father Abraham on the wild plains of 
Manassas. Doctor Harris and his assistants left 



20 EXTBACTS FKOM MY DIABY, 

for home to-day. Perhaps a little explanation 
should attend that last sentence. It seems Colonel 
Jones of the Fourth Alabama, was seriously 
wounded and taken prisoner at Bull Run, and was 
being attended by Dr. Harris and assistants, when 
the Federal retreat began. The colonel's attendants 
were going to leave him, of course, as they didn't 
care to be scooped, but he pleaded with them to 
stay with him until he should get to Richmond, 
and he would then and there have them released. 
So they stayed, but he was, as you may know by 
this date, a long while getting their release. 

September 25th. Chris. Rodman, of Peacedale, 
died of typhoid fever. 

Sunday, October 6th. All with stumps sent home 
to-day. I, with no stump, am permitted to walk 
across the street, and into another tobacco factory. 
This one is four stories high, beside a loft, where are 
stored tons of tobacco. I was sent to the fourth 
floor. And now, perhaps, that we have moved into 
new quarters, the program for a single day, in this 
den of ours, giving you an idea of how we used up 
some of the anxious hours and weeks, would be more 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 21 

edifying and interesting than a little dab of this 
and that, here and there. 

So, to begin with, if you please, picture to your- 
self this slumber chamber of ours, this parlor, re- 
ception and dining room, sitting and standing room, 
library and smoking room, bath room and kitchen. 
That bath must be a joke, a dry one, too, for I never 
knew or heard of Yank having a. bath with Jeff. 
Of course they were in hot water frequently, but 
then they didn't have on their bathing suits, only 
but just fighting togs. Well, this room was about 
35 x 80 with a chimney, a sink and James River 
water, and directly after a shower the water was 
a'most thick enough for plastering. The furniture 
was one solitary pine table, the chairs were out of 
sight. Comrade Chenery had not yet sent in his 
card. Say, did you ever realize what a droll-look- 
ing place a hotel would be, filled with guests, but 
not a chair in it? Or did you ever think what it 
meant to sit on the floor, not for a day, or a week, 
but for months? Sometime, when you have been 
real good and wish to repent, try it for a few weeks, 
just before Easter. 



22 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

But to resume. The men — about one hundred — 
at night, lie with their heads to the wall, away 
around the room, with another double column, 
heads together, up and down the middle of the 
room. Some may have a block for a pillow, others 
a shoe, but seven-eighths of them have nothing be- 
tween their heads and the floor, and the rest of the 
poor body is served in the same way. The cover- 
ing, too, is as scant as the bedding, except for a 
few, who may have saved a blanket from the battle- 
field, and even they must pay for their comfort by 
sleeping with one eye open, or they cannot see their 
blanket next morning, with two eyes open, not- 
withstanding, most pf us were familiar with num- 
ber eight of the decalogue. Soon after daylight 
all but the filthy ones are sitting up, all around the 
room, like so many athletes, stripped for the fray, 
with blood in their eyes and on their thumbnails, 
slaying the descendants of Pharaoh's pets with 
much zeal, but with little encouragement; for poor 
Yank is beaten now worse than at Bull Run; he is 
outnumbered here one thousand to one, and worst 
of all, has no ammunition, i. e., hot water, and the 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 23 

Richmond louse has no more fear of cold water than 
the proverbial milkman. But wasn't Stumps lucky 
in being sent away before getting to this place of 
torment, for what would the poor fellows have done 
while we were scratching, or rather, digging? 
Stumps was the fellow without hand or feet and 
how could he scratch without them? Next of note 
after the hunt, is the appearance of his mightiness, 
the notorious Sergeant Wirz, with pistol in hand, 
his guard with their guns by his side, to call the 
roll. In very good Dutch, he tells us to "Fall in, 
and pe tarn quick about it, too," but his bluster 
does not seem to frighten the boys much, and while 
we are getting into line the careless ones make it 
merry for Dutchie; from the four corners of the 
room in ventriloquistic tones they give him his 
pedigree, telling him he is the son of a good dog or 
of an old smooth bore; they send him on long jour- 
neys to — to — Halifax, or maybe to Jericho; they 
call him sweet and spicy names, and one curious 
cherub from the rear rank wants to know why he 
talks Irish. That staggers him, for Dutchie is not 
fond of the Irish, and if he dared would skin alive 



24 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

every "Mac" on the roll. So this query is the cli- 
max; up comes the pistol, he glares over it with fire 
in his eyes and speech, and gives the last speaker 
just two minutes to step two paces to the front. 
The cherub is, perhaps, a Freshman from Yale, and 
does not understand the Eotterdam language, so 
he does not take the two paces; then there is not 
even a smile for the next two minutes, then the gun 
begins to droop, the time is up, Dutchie has cooled 
off. and the roll is called. You see he had a similar 
experience each morning on the three floors below, 
and doubtless those people down there would worry 
him to the verge of nervousness. But I wish you 
could have heard him call that roll just once; and 
often those scamps would get him so badly twisted 
he would have to close his book and count us, and 
if it was music to hear him call the roll 'twas equal 
to a band to hear his 'ine, swi, thri, fear, finf and so 
on down the line. Soon after roll call came the 
regular 9 o'clock Confederate feast. A four-ounce 
piece of bread with three ounces of boiled rib, then 
go to the tap and wash it down with a dose of the 
James River. With the three courses (bread, rib 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 25 

and water) , we have lost nearly four precious min- 
utes, for you must not think we are a set of drones 
in this hive, and have lots of time to squander over 
a little mess of bread and bone, "Nowt of sort." 

Perhaps it would have been more in order to have 
told you, before gormandizing, how this feast was 
served. The fifty eight-ounce loaves of bread, and 
maybe twenty pounds of meat, were brought in by 
darkies and put on our solitary table. Then our 
own selected and angelic commissary cut the loaves 
in two, placed them on the table and put on each 
piece of bread three ounces, or less, of choice boiled 
rib; the men then formed in line, walked past the 
table and each took a ration. Now, after the feast 
comes the daily round of exercise. Over in yonder 
corner a bondholder, having invested in a Richmond 
Examiner or Dispatch (ten cents), is holding the 
attention of a score or more with an extended ac- 
count of the last Confederate victory. Always a 
victory, of course, for when Johnnie was beaten, 
not even a bondholder could buy one of his papers. 
That group over there are watching a pair of jack- 
als, who are having a quiet game of pitch for the 



26 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

criist and the bone that lies on the floor between 
them, and all about the room you may see pairs 
and fours, busy at all the variety of games with 
cards, and a generous sprinkling of more studious 
and sedate ones at chess, checkers, and dominoes, 
from morn 'till twilight. The squad over there by 
the grand stairway are arguing about the rumors 
of our being released, or sent south, or out on the 
Confederate fortifications with the chain gang. 
Then some loafer or rascal would come from some- 
where down stairs and sing out, "Hurrah, fellows, 
going home next week!" In our early prison days 
such a toot would set the swarm to buzzing, but 
soon became shopworn. Then another party, with 
pickets posted away down the stairs (that they 
be not surprised by Mr. Wirz and his gang) are 
going aloft for tobacco to take down stairs to be 
pressed, for they alone on the lower floor have 
the presses, while we on the upper, command the 
tobacco loft. So Ave lend them our tobacco for the 
use of their presses. How the fellows fared be- 
tween the upper and lower millstones I don't re- 
member, but you can rest assured they didn't go 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 27 

without their smoke. Oh, what a comfort that 
was for Yank in prisondom, that he could smother 
so many cravings for home and loved ones; that he 
could stifle so many aches and pains, so much tor- 
ture and misery from dawn to dark with beautiful 
time-killing smoke, nor having to take one thought 
of where the next was coming from; for didn't we 
have tobacco to burn? A couple of years after- 
wards, I used to think frequently of the poor fel- 
lows at Andersonville, and how much they would 
have enjoyed such a privilege. 

The really industrious ones you see about the 
room are the artists, the Boney-parts, who, with 
their knife, file, and wax, patience and perserver- 
ance, take the bones from their meat and make such 
artistic chessmen, checkers, dominoes, rings, shields, 
badges, etc., that even the women of the Confed- 
eracy come in to see and buy. 

Then there is the drill squad, having sword and 
bayonet exercise, while sailor-Jack is prodding a 
ship, or the girl be left behind him, into the breast 
of his shipmate. The chap yonder with the book 
and restful visage, is having a royal treat, which 



28 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

many of us anticipate from the same source. The 
bachelor-appearing fellow beside him, you see, has 
a needle and thread, and may be trying to bridle a 
button or take a piece from the corner of his 
blanket, to fill a vacancy in the resting place of his 
trousers ; and I tell you it was quite a task to keep 
that part of our uniform fit for Sunday morning 
inspection. 

Now the barber could be the busiest one in the 
hive, but he doesn't like to work for nothing, and 
very few of us are flush, but he must cut hair, for 
we have no combs and as I have told you just now 
neither have we any hot water. The innocent look- 
ing boy over there, Slim Bailey, with his six feet 
five, curled up in smoke, is the rascal who will bor- 
row of you a handful of Egyptian vermin, trot down 
stairs to the guard at the door, and deliberately 
pour them down the back of his neck, thinking per- 
haps, that it is only proper to render unto Caesar 
the things that do not belong to us. About 12 m., 
daily, a very select few would have an interlude in 
the shape of hasty pudding, griddle cakes or a stew. 
These few were mostlv from the Seventy-first New 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 29 

York, the Brooklyn Zoos, and First Rhode Island 
Infantry. They were of the elite, the upper crust, 
blue bloods, they had money, and with it they would 
get the guard to bring them flour, rice, sugar, tea, 
vegetables, etc. Of course the flour and vegetables 
must be cooked, but where was the stove? The 
Confederacy had no stoves for Yanks. Well, in 
that loft I spoke of, besides the hogsheads, barrels, 
boxes and caddies of tobacco, there were piles of 
sheet-tin, in squares about nine inches by twelve. 
So Yank took some of them down stairs, dug a hole 
in the chimney, laid the bricks on the floor with the 
sheets of tin over them, and on top of these placed 
rows of bricks to connect with the hole in the chim- 
ney, and covered the last with more sheets on which 
to put the cooking furniture, and that was the style 
and make of the Model Grand, the Richmond Range 
of 1861. Years after Comrade Spicer cabbaged the 
entire plant. Did you notice I mentioned cooking 
furniture? Well, you see these select few must have 
dishes to cook in, and so they did, by taking more 
of those sheets of tin and turning up the sides and 
ends so nicely that they were liquid tight, and that 



30 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

too, without solder. Then these shoddy autocrats 
must have fuel, so they go aloft once more and any- 
thing in the shape of staves, boards and boxes that 
is breakable is utilized. Oh, but were not those 
midday doses torture for the eyes and nostrils of 
the poor fellows who had no money, meal or pota- 
toes; no nothing but an appetite fit for a shark, 
and a desire to turn our noses over or plug up the 
blow holes. 

Now comes 4 o'clock, and up come the darkies 
again with piles of bread and buckets of broth. 
This broth is the fluid in which the ribs were boiled, 
and to each gill of the same has been added one 
bean, and to each Yank is given, daily, one standard 
gill of this Confederate swill. Sometimes it was 
very fresh, and then again it would be so odorous 
you would swear it never was fresh. After this 
threat out come the pipes, "only but just pipes," 
take notice, nearly a hundred well colored, loyal 
dudeens, and not a two for or arbitrator, or any 
other sort of a traitor in sight. And now this final 
soothing, nerve-killing, quiet smoke, and the day is 
done. 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 31 

October 25th. Had trial of a fellow for stealing 
meal. 

Sunday, November 3d. Service by chaplain of 
the Third Maine. 

Friday, November 8th. Two men shot on the 
third floor this evening as they were going away 
from the faucet and from the window through 
which they were shot. Tibbetts shot through, from 
back to breast, died soon after, and the same bullet 
lodged in the arm of Weeden, in front of him. The 
guards told his officer the men were trying to es- 
cape. An unlikely story. 

Sunday, November 10th. Service, subject, "The 
Leper of Syria," told to go wash seven times. The 
lepers of "Libby" would have been pleased to re- 
ceive just such an order, and I assure you that sev- 
eral times seven would not have been too many to 
have gotten beneath the accumulation of the pre- 
vious four months. 

November 24th. A lively rumor that we are to 
be taken south soon, and as the next tavern we stop 
at may not be so bountifully supplied with tobaceo. 
we adjourn to our loft and take all the loose tobacco 



32 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

we think we can keep out of sight of the guard. The 
plugs we pressed are already stowed away for just 
such an emergency. I don't know how many plugs 
I took away, but I know I gave a darkie twenty for 
his pocket-knife, when we were going down the Ala- 
bama, thinking I could make rings and badges as 
well as some others. So I made a ring ; you should 
have seen it. I never made another. I brought 
home two of the plugs of tobacco; one I gave to 
this Society many, years ago. The other I have 
here. 

November 25th. Left Eichmond about noon. At 
Petersburg were put into freight cars, no dinner or 
supper. 

November 27th. Four crackers and a piece of 
bacon to-day. Arrived in Wilmington at dark, 
crossed Cape Fear River on steamer, and again put 
in freighters. 

November 28th. Four more crackers for twenty- 
four hours. Now, if our reckless host will continue 
thusly for a few days more, we may soon be rid of 
the balance of our bloat. 

November 29th. Arrived in Montgomery, Ala- 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 33 

bania, just before dark, and transferred to steamer 
Waverly, and sent down the Alabama River. The 
next day we turned up into the Tombigbee, and 
next day into the Black Warrior. 

December 2d. We arrived in Tuscaloosa, Ala- 
bama, and put up at the United States Hotel, Market 
Street, and most of us Rhode Island chaps, with a 
few Massachusetts, New York and Jersey's, about 
twenty-five in all, were put in a guest chamber, sec- 
ond floor front. 

Are you a trifle doubting about that hotel name? 
Well, I was surprised at its being left for us to see ; 
until I saw it was not on a signboard, but painted 
directly on the clapboards, and I don't suppose the 
poor things had had time, paint or ambition to 
brush it out. 

December 4th. Bread and bacon for breakfast, 
ditto for supper, after which, for a regular every 
day bill of fare, we had corn bread, made from corn 
and cobs ground together, mixed with water, but 
no salt, 1 and baked in dripping pans about three 
inches deep. 



1 Salt was nearly one hundred dollars per barrel in those days, and a 
little later was much more. 



34 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

December 6th. The corn dodgers are entertain- 
ing us merrily. 

December 7th. The cob and corn syndicate seem 
"To Have and To Hold" the balance of power here 
just now, and if Uncle Abe doesn't come to the res- 
cue soon, Yank will have to put in a requisition for 
a bucket of Jamaica Ginger, or some other pain- 
killing cordial, if he ever expects to see Washing- 
ton again. You chaps that are familiar with old 
Virginia hoecakes, may be a little bit skeptical 
about the cobs being in our cake, but if they had 
been straight goods and no shoddy do you believe 
a pack of starving hyenas would have made bricks 
of them for pillows, or used them as grapeshot at 
midnight to quiet his too chatty roommate? But 
the cob-cake was not all bad. Let me tell you how 
we fixed him once; as a treat, we were given rice 
and molasses for Christmas, and then some smart 
Yank took his tin plate, and with a nail, nearly 
filled it with holes, then turned it over and pushed 
his hard dry dodger over the grater, and behold it 
was meal again, but as an improvement over the 
Confederate method of mixing with water only 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 35 

Yank used the molasses given him for his rice, and, 
without asking twice others were pleased to pool 
their molasses rations with him. Then we tried 
out two or three of our rations of fat pork, and, in 
the grease we fried this mixture of second-hand cob- 
meal and molasses; and, by the splendor of Rome 
if it didn't turn out doughnuts, and such dough- 
nuts! Why, after eating one of them you could 
speak in seven languages, if you had the key. You 
may wonder where we did this cooking. Well, there 
was a fireplace in this chamber of ours, but I have 
not the least idea where we got the fuel. Diary and 
memory both fail me here. The tin plates we made 
by unsoldering our canteens. 

Sunday, December 8th. Preaching by Lieuten- 
ant Church, of the Second, in the parlor and hall. 
He was, previous to 1860, a preacher for the 
Baptists at Wakefield, and his daughters were 
schoolmates of mine. 

December 9th. They have made a lieutenant of 
Wirz, and put him in charge here. He has taken 
Burt, my chum, and of my company, for his book- 
keeper. On the 11th we had the play of "Macbeth'' 



36 EYTRACTS PROM MY DIARY, 

rendered, with one H. W. Eagan, of Michigan, as 
the star. Many of the rebel officers came in with 
chairs and placed themselves in front, where they 
seemed to enjoy the play very much. For me, it 
was a treat, as I had never seen one of Shake- 
speare's plays before, and as I found out later, 
Eagan was no novice in the business, for I met him 
in Washington about two years after, managing a 
genuine theatre. 

Christmas Day, 1861. Shade of Alexis Sawyer; 
bread, white bread in our hose this morning. Such 
fat living must finally lead to gout. 

January 1, 1862. Four of us sat up last night 
and bade the old year farewell, and hoped the last 
half of it would never come our way again. 

January 4th. No meat to-day, on account of a 
broken door. 

January 8th. Yams for supper. What luxu- 
ries ! Where is the Confederacy drifting to ? 

January 9th. Captain Bowers and Lieutenant 
Knight left for home. 

January 25th. I bet Charles Bean a dollar we 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 37 

would be out of this hotel by March 1st, and so we 
were, but I never saw the dollar. 

February 4th. No meat to-day. 

February 12th. The anniversary of the birth of 
our ever memorable Lincoln. 

February 15th. Our first snow in Dixie. 

February 22d. This is the day we would cele- 
brate. It's a beautiful morning, a regular holiday 
for the darkies, and the common in our front is full 
of them. We throw up our windows (against all 
rules or practice, and if we had done such a thing 
in Richmond, would have been shot before we could 
have gotten away from the window), but we throw 
up our windows and we, the white minstrels, like a 
score of howling wolves, give the grinning black 
audience such a treat with the "Star Spangled Ban- 
ner," the "Red, White and Blue," and others, that 
the cavity under those darkies' noses looked like a 
fiery furnace with marble trimmings. Then you 
should have seen them, men, women, and pickanin- 
nies, rolling, dancing and jumping over one another, 
hats and arms in the air, and at every stop we 
made, shouting for more, until, from down the 



38 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

street, with coat tails on the horizontal, conies old 
Wirz, up the stairs, two at a clip, and into our 
room, chirping, "What in Hades you tain fools try- 
ing to do? I thought you Rhode Island chaps 
pretty good fellows, but py tam you get no more meat 
for two, three, four days, do you see?" No, wa 
didn't see any meat for two days, then Burt (so he 
told me afterwards) interceded for us. 

February 26th. Signed a parole of honor this 
p. m. Here is a copy of it : "Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 
Feb. 26, 1862. We, the undersigned, prisoners of 
war to the Confederate States, swear that if re- 
leased we will not take up arms against the Con- 
federate States during the existing war, until regu- 
larly exchanged and that we will not communicate 
in any manner whatsoever anything that might in- 
jure the cause of the Confederate States which may 
have come to our knowledge of which we may have 
heard since our capture." 

Saturday, March 1st. Good-bye, old Tuscaloosa, 
we are off on the steamer George Sykes. Just think 
of it, we are homeward bound, that joyful sound, 



AND FROM MY EXPEEIENCES. 39 

and ret it may not be, but we'll think of that as we 
laugh and chat with the boys who now are free. 

March 3d. Turned up into the Alabama, and 
this afternoon met the steamer Jeff. Davis, with 
troops and artillery going down to Mobile. The 
pump of our ship gave out about dark, but our boys 
fixed it. 

March 5th. Did not run much last night, it was 
so dark our pine torch at the boAV was little better 
than a candle. The pump got tired again this 
morning, so the boys had to give her another dose 
of Yankee goose grease. Arrived in Montgomery 
before noon and left before dark. Again in freight 
cars, but we do not mind them now as the doors are 
wide open, no guard, and nearly as many of the boys 
outside as in. Three cheers for the fellow who 
shook from us our shackles, and dissolved the 
dream, which was not all a dream. 

March 7th. About dark we are reminded we had 
two crackers for breakfast, no dinner or supper. 
It must be we are on the air line or the fast express, 
limited (to six miles an hour), though there doesn't 
seem to be much limit to the fast, and the air, 



40 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

though filling, does not seem to soothe the inflamed 
appetite we have acquired since getting out of 
doors, and since those few days we had on the laugh- 
ing riplets of the Alabama and Tombigbee. Before 
noon of the 12th we had turned up in Raleigh, 
North Carolina, about eight hundred and fifty miles 
from Montgomery, at an average speed of less than 
five miles an hour. Of course, if we were going 
the other way that would be plenty fast enough, 
but with liberty to the right and left and in front 
of us, and Uncle Sam almost staring us in the face, 
it did seem tantalizing; but after all, the jog was 
too fast, we arrived too soon ; too soon to dodge the 
most unkind cut of all ; ingratitude that cut close to 
the vitals. The parole had collapsed, the motto, 
"Hope," and visions of Little Ehody had gone from 
us; we were driven back into our cage, given a 
couple of crackers, the doors were closed, the guard 
replaced, and away we go for another dose of per- 
dition and purgatory, Oh, why couldn't they have 
kept their meanness to themselves for just another 
week? 

Thursday. March 13th. Arrived in Salisbury, 



AND FEOM MY EXPERIENCES. 41 

North Carolina; our host gave us some bread and 
bacon about 10.00 a. m v but nothing more for the 
day. Guess this must be another hotel "Cavity." 
March 14th. Bread and fat pork for breakfast; 
broth and pork for supper. The broth was "out of 
sight" in two minutes, and the pork would have 
been real nice if we had had a little fresh cas- 
tor oil to pour over it. Now just a few words 
about our quarters here. At the time we left Rich- 
mond last fall, another batch of several hundred 
were sent to New Orleans, and just before we ar- 
rived here those same Orleanists had come to town 
and taken possession of an old three-story cotton 
or shoddy mill. This mill was near the centre of 
several acres that were enclosed with a board fence, 
about nine feet high, and around the inner side of 
which were one and a half story brick cottages, be- 
longing, we suppose, to the mill proprietors, and 
built for their employees. We Tuscaloosa chaps 
were the tenants now, and the ever-thoughtful Con- 
federacy, to keep us Yanks from family quarrels, 
from ruinous gossip, and the borrowing of our 
neighbor's salt, had separated these cottages from 



42 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

each other by the same style of fence as that around 
the outside, and then had put another on the inner 
side to keep us and the Orleanists from swapping 
gum. So we have a little yard now, but Mr. Reb 
knows very well we can't use it with our shredded 
and soleless shoes. 

Sunday, April 6th. Three of our men shot last 
night. 

April 20th. They let the boys out of the factory 
into the large yard, one floor a day now, and some 
of them they are having to bury alive, up to their 
chins. Doubtless many of you have seen or heard 
of "deadheads," but here was the other kind, a droll 
as well as sombre spectacle. A dozen or more, 
live and human heads, sticking up just above the 
ground; just heads and nothing more. A queer 
looking crop, and how it would have pleased some 
of the ladies of the Confederacy to have gotten into 
that lot with a lawn mower or a tennis racquet. So 
much for scurvy. 

May 1st. Received my first letter from home. 
Just think of it, there are people yet living in the 
United States. I wonder if the Richmond papers 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 43 

know about this, we should have supposed from the 
way they talked last fall that the last of the "Mud- 
sills" would have been wiped out before this. The 
above letter was the only one I received of many 
that were sent to me. 

May 8th. Rumors floating around that we are to 
have another start for freedom, and maybe that ac- 
counts for Johnnie allowing us to have a concert 
in the big yard this afternoon. 

May 16th. Signed another parole. 

May 19th. Had another dose of ague, chills, and 
fever, yesterday; not much better to-day. 

May 21st. Ten months ago, Johnnie, there were 
too many of you, but to-day, this scratch lot of 
Jack-o-lanterns are thinking they would like to try 
it over again with you. And to-day the great 
game of baseball came off between the Orleanists 
and Tuscaloosans, with apparently as much enjoy- 
ment to the Eebs as the Yanks, for tbey came in 
hundreds to see the sport, and I have seen more 
smiles to-day on their oblong faces than before since 
I came to Eebeldom, for they have been the most 
doleful looking set of men I ever saw, and that 



44 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

Confederate gray uniform really adds to their 
mournful appearance. The game was a tie, eleven 
each, but the factory fellows were skunked three 
times, and we but twice. Good, Mr. Eeb, we will 
overlook quite a little of that black Friday busi- 
ness at Raleigh for the pleasure you have permitted 
us to partake of this afternoon. 

May 22d. About two hundred of the boys 
started for home this morning. We signed another 
parole this afternoon, and after so much of this 
parole signing we are reminded of the fellow down 
in Richmond over a hundred years ago who wanted 
liberty or death, and that's the condition we have 
arrived at. only we would substitute for death 
sixteen ounces of broiled porter house, a pot of 
Mocha Java, and a clean shirt each morning during 
the remainder of our stay here. 

May 23d. Left Old Salisbury this morning and 
are in high hopes the hardened Pharaohs will let 
Israel go this time. Passed through Raleigh and 
at dark came up to where the boys had a break- 
down yesterday. Arrived in Goldsboro about 9, 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 45 

where we stayed in the cars the remainder of the 
night. 

May 24th. Had some crackers for breakfast, and 
away we go again. Arrived at Tarboro, and taken 
to the Court House for the night, where we found 
the party that left Salisbury the day before us. 
Now is the winter of our discontent beginning to 
fade away, and the clouds of doubt and despair, to 
disperse by this soothing dose of tar cordial. 

Sunday, May 25, 1862. Left Tarboro and the 
final of our bondage in this ghostly wilderness of 
torture and famine at 8.00 a. m., on two scows or 
flat boats, towed by the tug "Col. Hill," down the 
Tar River for over seventy miles, and until nearly 
sunset, when we came in sight of that beautiful, 
that glorious old Star Spangled banner at Little 
Washington, North Carolina. Then you should 
have heard that drove of wild skeletons shout and 
howl. The Johnnies tried to squelch us with fearful 
threats, but the returned exiles told them they would 
pour them overboard, guns and all, if they dared 
interfere, for you see we had nothing in us but ten 
months of compressed air and suppressed shouts, 



46 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

and they had got to come out now, to make room for 
a renewed and more loyal admiration of George 
Washington, Abraham Lincoln and the flag of the 
free. Well, good-bye, Jeff, sorry to leave you, wish 
you would go along with us. The boys on the Po- 
tomac would be awfully glad to see you and ex- 
change grips, and, if you would come over and just 
let Uncle Abe talk to you about thirty minutes the 
war would be over to-morrow. But Jeff wouldn't 
listen to us, so we pulled up alongside and landed 
on the deck of the Pilot Boy, and from there were 
transferred to the Eastern Cossack, where we were 
fed and then allowed to scrub up and put on a clean 
shirt if we could get one. Say, comrades, but you 
ought to have seen that uniform we landed in, and 
did you ever try to wear a single suit, i. e., shirt 
and trousers, continuously for ten months, nights 
as well as days? If not, don't begin now, it's too 
monotonous. Then, for over three hundred days 
we had been waiting for just such an opportunity 
as this to satisfy a ceaseless longing for food, and 
here it was in abundance and we didn't care for a 
crumb. 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 47 

May 26th. Left Little Washington just after 
sunrise and came to anchor at 3 p. m., a mile below 
Newbern. Coffee, soup and crackers for supper. 
Oh! but wasn't that coffee rich? And can I ever 
forgive those Confederate thieves for robbing me of 
so many precious doses; just think of it, in three 
hundred days there was lost to me, forever, so 
many hundred pots of good old Government Java. 
I don't know about it ; though I have been taught to 
forgive, seventy times seven is a good many, and it's 
a long way back to last July. Of course, I expect 
to forgive them sometime, but I do not wish to de- 
cide hastily and then have to use up all my leisure 
in repenting. 

May 27th. Hauled up to the wharf about noon. 
The boys, thirty at a time, got a pass to go ashore. 
Gilmore's Band came on board at dark and gave us 
a treat that set our spinal column shivering from 
truck to keel. 

May 28th. I received a pass, went ashore, shook 
hands with General Burnside, and saw three of my 
old schoolmates belonging to Auditor Chase's Bat- 
tery P, stationed here. Returned to ship at noon. 




48 EXTRACTS FROM MY DIARY, 

The general came to see us in the afternoon, then 
we left the dock and got aground twice before get- 
ting back to our anchorage. 

May 29th. Got underway early and went into 
Hatteras for coal, then farewell to old Carolina, 
and away we go for the deep blue sea. Quite rough 
outside, many of the boys seasick. 

May 30th. George B. Atwood, of Providence, lost 
overboard the past night. Poor fellow, so near the 
goal he had been reaching for, and then lose all. 
Out of sight of land all day, came in sight of Barne- 
gat at dark. 

Saturday, May 31st. Arrived in New York at 
daylight. The Great Eastern is up the Hudson at 
anchor. She is not so monstrous-looking as I had 
imagined. Later she came down past us on her way 
out to sea. Just after noon we were taken ashore 
on tug J. Chase, and marched up to the Soldiers 
Retreat on Broadway, where we were given rations, 
and at 5 p. m., marched to the dock and on board the 
steamer Comonwealth, bound for Stonington. I 
had to back up to a steam pipe all the way to keep 
from shaking my bones out of joint, with another 



AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES. 49 

charming allowance of my never-to-be-shaken friend, 
the chills. 

Arrived in Providence at 4 a. m., where relatives 
and friends had been at the station waiting for us 
several hours. 

After a furlough at home of five weeks I was 
ordered to report at "Camp Parole," Annapolis, 
Maryland, there to await orders for "an exchange," 
which came to us the following October. Then I 
started again for the front and joined my regiment 
at Downville, Maryland, Friday, October 10, 1862, 
after an absence of over fourteen months, and after 
nearly one-half the boys I had left in my company, 
had been wounded, killed, promoted, discharged or 
sent to some hospital. For myself, I got into 
trouble again with the Rebs at Fredericksburg, in 
December, 1862; Gettysburg and Chancellorsville, 
1863; also again at Fredericksburg, 1863, and in 
1864 at the Wilderness, Spottslyvania, Cold Harbor, 
where Johnnie gave me another reminder of his care- 
lessness with a loaded gun.